December 2, 2018
MBS: A Prince among bugging victims

In November 2018 American spooks published a list of calls made probably by advisers to MBS (the Saudi dictator). The existence of this list was supposed to throw light onto the death of a journalist called Khashoggi, but what had happened there was never really in any doubt.

Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi embassy in Turkey and then brutally murdered. Saudi Arabia is such an autocratic country that this could not possibly have happened without the permission of MBS. So non story.

However what the spooks revealed, unwittingly, was that even the communications of the richest and most powerful people on the planet can and are being monitored.

So someone can sell you a box of tricks or even a human based service and promise you that it is uncrackable. No one can get in. But they are either stupid or lying.

Those who really need to achieve anonymity and can afford the price (such as drug dealers) discover that what they are doing is probably illegal. To repeat: privacy is now illegal.
This is the full text of a page from Middle East Eye (at, just in case this disappears, as stories about MBS have a habit of doing.
Saudi-commissioned report disputes CIA findings on Khashoggi murder

Report by US security firm says MBS and top aide did not discuss Khashoggi on WhatsApp on the day the journalist died

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP) MBS has denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's murder or its botched cover-up (AFP)

By MEE staff

Published date: 7 February 2019 12:50 UTC | Last update: 2 years 8 months ago

The Saudi government is disputing a key element of a CIA assessment that concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi last October, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has reported.

According to the US newspaper, a confidential report prepared for the Saudi public prosecutor by Kroll, a private US security firm, found that none of the WhatsApp messages exchanged between bin Salman and his top aide Saud al-Qahtani on the day Khashoggi was killed concerned the journalist or his murder.

MBS messages intercepted by CIA bolster view prince targeted Khashoggi

Two US officials said this week that the CIA stood by its "medium-to-high confidence" assessment that bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, personally targeted Khashoggi, authorised the operation against him, and probably ordered his death.

MBS and Qahtani also used another messaging application, in addition to WhatsApp, to communicate, according to a person familiar with the communications, the WSJ, which has reviewed a draft of the Kroll report, said on Wednesday.

There was no mention of another messaging channel in the CIA assessment, which was completed in November.

The WhatsApp messages between MBS and Qahtani, who is believed to have overseen the team that killed Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was one piece of evidence cited in the CIA assessment. But intelligence officials acknowledged at the time that while they were aware of the communications, "we do not know their content".

According to the WSJ, the CIA's assessment was not hinged on a "smoking gun" but rather on a deep "understanding of how Saudi Arabia works", said officials familiar with the intelligence agency's conclusion. Deleted message

Kroll's examination of Qahtani’s phone revealed 11 messages sent by MBS to Qahtani on 2 October, the day of Khashoggi's murder, which were also mentioned in the CIA assessment, as well as 15 messages that Qahtani sent to the prince on the same day, the WSJ reported.

None of those messages "contained clear or identifiable references to Jamal Khashoggi", Kroll said in the report.

"Kroll did not identify indications of manipulation, deletion or alteration of the analysed data," it said.

Kroll's report said it found that one message had been deleted from Qahtani's phone, the WSJ said.

Posted by Jonathan Brind.
December 2, 2018